Internal waves in the Arctic : influence of ice concentration, ice roughness, and surface layer stratification

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Cole, Sylvia T.
Toole, John M.
Rainville, Luc
Lee, Craig M.
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Internal waves
Ice roughness
Ice concentration
The Arctic ice cover influences the generation, propagation, and dissipation of internal waves, which in turn may affect vertical mixing in the ocean interior. The Arctic internal wavefield and its relationship to the ice cover is investigated using observations from Ice‐Tethered Profilers with Velocity and Seaglider sampling during the 2014 Marginal Ice Zone experiment in the Canada Basin. Ice roughness, ice concentration, and wind forcing all influenced the daily to seasonal changes in the internal wavefield. Three different ice concentration thresholds appeared to determine the evolution of internal wave spectral energy levels: (1) the initial decrease from 100% ice concentration after which dissipation during the surface reflection was inferred to increase, (2) the transition to 70–80% ice concentration when the local generation of internal waves increased, and (3) the transition to open water that was associated with larger‐amplitude internal waves. Ice roughness influenced internal wave properties for ice concentrations greater than approximately 70–80%: smoother ice was associated with reduced local internal wave generation. Richardson numbers were rarely supercritical, consistent with weak vertical mixing under all ice concentrations. On decadal timescales, smoother ice may counteract the effects of lower ice concentration on the internal wavefield complicating future predictions of internal wave activity and vertical mixing.
Author Posting. © American Geophysical Union, 2018. This article is posted here by permission of American Geophysical Union for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 123 (2018): 5571-5586, doi:10.1029/2018JC014096.
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Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans 123 (2018): 5571-5586
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